How to deal with criticism

Original interpretations of Van Gogh's Starry Night.
Original interpretations of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

The Problem

You've finished a new painting and are full of enthusiasm.

You should be. You have just created a new thing, from your own imagination you have expressed your taste and style, there is a whole lot of 'you' on that canvas. Naturally you want to share your creation with friends and family, so you post a picture on WeChat or Facebook.

The first comment you get is from a dear friend "... but don't you do originals?".

Ouch. That hurt!

Your friend means well, but still their comment really dampens your enthusiasm.

So, you spend a few minutes, or hours, or days, working out a helpful response, to try and explain what you intended in this painting. This is an energy sapping exercise.

The Solution

No, you don't do that! Don't waste your precious time and energy on dealing with this.

Your enthusiasm is a very precious commodity. Professional creative people know this. The spark of creative energy is a delicate creature, it has to be nurtured and protected from the wind.

So, what you do is: cut & paste a standard reply that you prepared earlier.

Here is a list of helpful responses to get you started. Edit, improve, and use as needed!

  • Everything I do is "original", baby!
  • Look again... I _am_ an original!
  • Thanks, actually there is a whole lot of my style in this painting!
  • Check out the original, compare it to my interpretation. See the differences? That's my style right there!

van-gogh-george van-gogh-george
Van Gogh's original and my interpretation.

  • Check out my use of line - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of texture - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of colour - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of tone - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Yes, I'm developing my style very quickly by painting interpretations of the masters. What a great way to learn!
  • I'm learning so much, so quickly from studying Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne! Why not join me for a lesson and paint your own!
  • Thanks, oh we all do original work at Inglis Academy! Check out these student paintings.

Original interpretations of Monet.
Original interpretations of Monet.

A student's interpretation of Monet's Waterlilies, 1916.
A student's interpretation of Monet's Waterlilies, 1916.